Chase Freedom Unlimited® Review

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Holly D. Johnson @ClubThrifty  in  Cash Back How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Best for large earning potential

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our 0% apr category page.

The information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Citi® Double Cash Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Details and benefits

The Chase Freedom Unlimited follows the example of other flat-rate rewards cards by doling out a flat 1.5 percent back for each dollar you spend. You’ll never have to worry about rotating categories or earning caps. This card also exists within the Chase Ultimate Rewards universe, which means you can access insanely flexible redemption options and you have the potential to pool points in one account for even better options.

Also note that you can earn a $150 cash bonus with this card when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening. That’s an excellent return for a small amount of purchases made with your card.

Advantages

  • With flat-rate rewards, you won’t have to worry about earning caps, bonus categories or bonus rewards that rotate every three months.
  • No annual fee.
  • Earn a generous sign up bonus within the first three months.
  • You can also benefit from a zero percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99 to 23.74 percent.
  • You can redeem your rewards for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, experiences or travel through the Chase portal.

Disadvantages

  • Without any bonus categories, there are few ways to maximize rewards with this card.
  • You need good or excellent credit to qualify.
  • This card charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee.

Earning unlimited cash back

To make sure we’re clear, the Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t offer any specific bonus categories throughout the year. Instead, you’ll earn a flat 1.5 percent back for each dollar you spend, with no earning cap, and remember that’s on top of the $150 in bonus cash you’ll earn when you sign up and spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening.

Also be aware that, through March of 2022, all Chase credit cards, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited, will earn 5 percent cash back on Lyft rides (3.5 percent cash back in addition to the normal rewards rate). If you use ridesharing apps quite often and spend a lot of money with them each month, this special earning rate could help you rack up cash back even faster.

Redeeming cash back

One of the biggest benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited is the fact the rewards you earn are so flexible. You can redeem them for regular cash back or statement credits if you want to, but there are many, many additional options on the table.

Redemption options

  • Cash back or statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Merchandise through merchants like Amazon.com or Apple
  • Travel through the Chase portal

The Chase Ultimate Rewards portal

Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for travel is a smart option if you prefer to use rewards for hotels, rental cars and flights. This portal partners with Expedia.com, so you can use it to book a nearly endless array of travel plans including vacation rentals and “experiences,” like museum visits and cooking classes.

This portal is also easy to use. All you have to do is search for the travel you want on the dates you want. From there, you can use your points to book travel at a rate of one cent per point, or you can pay with a combination of points and cash or just cash.

How much are the Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards worth?

Cash back rewards earned with the Chase Freedom Unlimited are tracked as points typically worth one cent each when you redeem for statement credits, travel, merchandise and gift cards. Still, you can occasionally get more value when you redeem for specific gift card promotions. Note, however, that gift card promotions change all the time. You’ll need to check back frequently to stay on top of the current gift card promotions and discounts throughout the year.

How does the Chase Freedom Unlimited compare to other cash back cards?

There are a lot of cash-back credit cards on the market today, and most cards in this niche do not charge an annual fee. However, some cards stand out due to various benefits they offer, or for their lucrative initial bonuses.

Here are some of the top cash back credit cards you may want to consider, and some details that help you see how they stack up:

Initial bonus offer Ongoing rewards Annual fee Redemption options
Chase Freedom Unlimited $150 when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening/td> Earn a flat 1.5% back $0 Redeem for statement credits, gift cards, travel, merchandise and more
Chase Freedom $150 when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories (then 1%, activation required) and 1% back on everything else $0 Redeem for statement credits, gift cards, travel, merchandise and more
Citi® Double Cash Card (not currently available) None Earn 2% back on all purchases — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off $0 Redeem for statement credits
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (not currently available)* Earn $150 when you spend $500 within three months Earn 1.5% back on all purchases $0 Redeem for cash back in any amount

Pairing the Chase Freedom Unlimited with other cards

While you can pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with any number of rewards credit cards that offer different perks or rewards categories, we suggest pairing this card with another premier Chase card if you want to travel. That’s because Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards let you pool all of your points in one account for maximum redemption value. You can even pool points with a spouse or partner that lives at the same address, or with any Chase business credit card accounts you might have.

The real value comes when you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with a premier travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve, however. That’s because both of these cards let you transfer points 1:1 to popular Chase airline and hotel partners like Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards.

Beyond transfers to airlines and hotels, these cards let you get more value when you redeem points for travel through the Chase portal. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get 25 percent more value with your points in the portal, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you 50 percent more value out of your points when you redeem for travel.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited worth it for you?

It’s hard to beat this card’s generous initial bonus and flat-rate rewards, and we love the fact that you have myriad options available when it comes to cashing in your rewards. With that in mind, this card can be an exceptional deal for anyone who wants to earn flexible rewards without an annual fee. If you have a premier travel credit card with Chase already and might want to pool points later on for an epic family vacation, that’s even better.

If you’re still on the fence about this card, you should also consider the additional benefits you can gain when you sign up. For starters, you’ll qualify for 15 months with zero percent APR on purchases and balance transfers, followed by a variable APR of 14.99 to 23.74 percent. This benefit could help you save a lot of money on interest for more than a year, although you should be careful not to rack up purchases you cannot afford to pay off.

Other cardholder perks you should be aware of include purchase protection against damage or theft, extended warranties on eligible items and zero fraud liability.

*The information about the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.